names have been omitted in this post
this post contains language
Sitting in shorts and a t-shirt atop the king-sized bed with it's pretty embroidered Cynthia Rowley duvet, I surveyed the large oversized tray... double checking we had extra napkins and we each had a fork. It was a warm September night and the ceiling fan barely made it's circular presence overhead on it's lowest setting. I rose to cross the cream Berber carpet, my coral polished toes a fading summer pop of color… popping my head out the bedroom doorway, I called to him that I had everything we needed for dinner. Across the room the cream drapes were pulled open to reveal the night sky... the moon smiled over the water, the ripples glistening from it's light shining down. We were having a late dinner; he had gone to fetch what was nearby, quick and our usual go-to…. Jason's Deli for two… oversized baked potatoes with all the toppings. He soon joined me and as sat there I poked my potato with my fork, taking a few bites. Then he asked how my day was.
That question asked by him gave me anxiety.
It was like a test. Would I pass it?
It led to ways he felt I could "improve" myself.
It was also one-sided.
It nearly always led to a fight.
I had reached the point I wished he wouldn't even ask.
He also expected a response that was chipper, beyond upbeat and anything that wasn't like someone flipped out on rapturous ecstatic joy meant being grilled to death about what was wrong and then despite any and all protestations on my part of "Nothing is wrong!" -- because nothing was wrong.
This conversation of how did my day go always seemed to turn into the equivalent of a game show called "Let's figure out how we can 'fix' Jennifer… because she needs lot's of that. She's not perfect but with some kinks worked out here and there I'm sure I can get her where she needs to be and finally I'll be happy with her."
That was his philosophy.
It hurt. It was exhausting.
And yet it continued no matter how much I waffled between protesting or yes, most of the time tried and tried some more in classic co-dependent fashion to please him and protect the relationship above all else.
That night it would get worse.
I had been diagnosed that spring (April/May-ish) with ADHD. Finally, we, well, I had some answers, thank goodness. I finally now knew what had plagued me since childhood. I was so grateful, so relieved to now know what the issue was and had been taking Vyvanse, a stimulant medication to help with symptoms. The Vyvanse had brought me such wonderful results, I was much less distracted and accomplished much more but I had also unfortunately lost weight faster than you could scarf a carb-laden meal to make up for it. It had become alarming the amount of weight I had dropped in just a few short months so in August I began slowly weaning off the stimulant and trying to re-gain some weight. I felt pulled in two directions… I was really frustrated; I needed the medication for my ADHD symptoms but I also wasn't willing to put my physical health at risk by losing too much weight just to do that. I felt like I was in a no-win situation at that point. Something had to give. So I opted for stopping the Vyvanse. After I gained some weight back I would look at my other options regarding medication. My doctor agreed, he said we could explore other medications once I was back on track weight-wise… him putting me on a weight gain program.
But that night… as we sat there on the bed with our dinner of baked potatoes sitting between us and two slices of cheesecake for dessert… he started in… like he was scolding a child, he began telling me how he was angry I was not taking care of myself.
I was so confused. I sat there trying to process just what the hell was going on... it was like our two worlds didn't match up or something. He was twisting reality... IWAS taking care of myself... I was trying to re-gain the weight I'd lost. I tried to explain (again) to him how I had been taking Vyvanse to help my ADHD symptoms but it had led to the weight loss… that these things take time, I couldn't regain the weight overnight. I felt like he expected instantaneous results of perfection… like I couldn't perform quickly enough and when he said "jump" it wasn't when but how high did I need to do it? I was sick and tired of his expectations… it was draining. I could never live up to his expectations. His constantly high expectation(s) of me had caused my anxiety to sky rocket over the past few years… it was like living on eggshells all the time… wondering when would the other shoe drop.
He looked down at his potato saying nothing… fuming. Fuming that I was trying to explain… he might as well have had steam coming from his ears. He was fuming that I wasn't like: "Oh, okay, dear… I will get on that for you right away!" like some programmed robot.
I spoke "What is the matter with you?" I asked then snapped with exasperation, "I'm sick of you fussing at me!"
He turned and looked at me, his dark beady eyes staring at me like they wanted to explode out of his head. "You look like SHIT!" he yelled at me.
I stared at him with stunned shock.
"I look like SHIT?!... I LOOK LIKE SHIT?!" I repeated forcibly with emphasis on each word, anger mounting at what he said, absolutely stunned he was speaking to me that way. "Excuse me?!" I retorted back at him.
"Yeah, you do!" He retorted back, ugly in my face.
I sat there, the cream room swirling, spinning, trying to grasp what was happening. What the hell had happened to him? WHO WAS HE??? AND WHO TALKS TO SOMEONE THIS WAY? I had no idea. This was some psycho in my bed. A million thoughts were running through my mind… frantic, crazy, grasping thoughts… trying to make some sense of something that didn't make any sense at all.
I had no idea he was cheating. I had no idea he was wracking his brain on a daily basis trying to figure out how to get rid of me… so he could move in my new, younger-look-alike and "try things out" with her instead… and his best friend was condoning it all, even encouraging it,who had stood at the altar for our wedding beside us as we took our vows.
"Why are you talking to me this way?!" I demanded.
Silence. He just stared, fumed down at his potato with steam coming off it.
I wanted to cry. He had vowed to love me, to walk beside me yet I felt alone in this... he had just said the most awful, hateful thing and I didn't understand why he was being so cruel, so mean. But my hurt quickly turned to anger right back, I was so upset with him.
"I can't believe the way you're talking to me! I can't believe what you just said!" I exclaimed and as I sat there staring at him like he was from Mars, I spoke "You know… you think you're so perfect… but I don't see six-pack abs." I pointed out, trying to make a point then took a deep breath and added, "You're attacking me for something I am trying to fix, trying to work on, that I am fully aware of… I didn't ask for the weight loss, I am trying the best I can. You need to quit pointing the finger at me… because you have some work to do, clearly on yourself, in how you treat me. I don't know why you feel like it's okay to treat me like this but it's not. And I don'thave to take it." I got up, retreated to the master bathroom, slammed the door shut and sat on the thick plush white bathmat that graced the tile floor, sobbing, unbelieving that he could behave that cruelly… little did I know everything was derailing faster than a unstoppable train headed for disaster.
In a narcissistic sociopath's view he or she believes their words of "constructive" (loving in his or her eyes) advice is for your own benefit, it's for your own good… he or she means no harm, he or she is merely trying to nudge you in the right direction, after all. They are just wanting you to be perfect so they can love you… so you can love them like they need you to, so the relationship will thrive and flourish. They arehelping you… in their eyes they are nudging you to get your act together speedy quick because they can't have you, their partner being a mess, now can they? Nope, not at all.
Their criticism comes from a place of LOVE not wrath… <smirk>
Then he or she will turn on the charm again… the love they can shower you with that is all-so-wonderful, whether it be adoring praise or gifts they will have you heady with joy at how much they clearly love you. They will continue this cycle of dishing out "loving criticism" and then the over the top acts of love like gushing praise, high fives, words of "great job!" accolades for you, gifts like expensive paintings, electronics, flowers, candy and clothes… leaving you in a disoriented spin cycle of confusion.
Until you become strong. Until you see he or she for what they really are. Until their game is up. Until the mask falls away bit by bit revealing stinking decay underneath. Until you're onto their trickery and deceit… until you sit there and reply:
"I can't believe you're treating me like this! I'm not putting up with it!"
Strength threatens them.
Strength means they are no longer in control.
Strength means you're in control.
Strength means they are about to lose.
And you're about to walk out the door.
© gps-gracepowerstrength.blogspot.com ~ 2014